Tips For Buying a Home in 2022
If buying a home this year is on your to-do list there are a few things you need to know before you begin your home search.
Buying a home is supposed to be fun and exciting. Sure, there are times when it’s going to be challenging and stressful though if follow the following tips and tricks of our experienced real estate team, you’ll find that buying a home in this market isn’t as scary as you once thought.
Tip 1: Hire the right agent
Most people, if not everyone know a real estate agent. In fact, most real estate agents sit around and wait for a friend or family member to say they are looking to move. The truth is, you should feel 100% comfortable finding the right agent for you!
Our advice: Interview as many agents as it takes for you to feel comfortable and confident that they can get you the best deal possible. Do they know the area? How many homes a year do they sell? Can they confidently navigate this market? How comfortable are they with today’s technology? How successful are they? Are they full-time or part-time?
Tip 2: Get Pre-approved
Once you have figured out which real estate agent you’re going to work with, the very next thing you need to do is to meet with a mortgage loan officer and get pre-approved.
Buying a house is not like buying a car. You don’t get to drive the car until you know you can afford it. There is nothing more frustrating than having a rough idea of what you want to spend on a house only to find out that the online mortgage calculator you’ve been using is wrong. You don’t want to be house rich and cash poor.
Not only will being pre-approved help you understand what can you comfortably afford, but it will also help when it comes to putting in our offer because a pre-approval letter is required to submit.
Our advice: Ask your real estate agent for local lenders they recommend – even if it means getting a second opinion. Just like finding an agent, you want to make sure the lender you’re working with is going to get you the best deal on your interest rate and other fees.
Tip 3: Make Your List
Want to have. Need to have. Have to Have
What are your wants and needs? Do you need a yard for your dog? Do you need 3 bedrooms or 4? Do you want a finished basement? Does it need to be move-in ready?
Write down everything you NEED to have first.
From there, write down the non-negotiable items. These are the items that the house must have otherwise you walk away.
After that, write down anything that would be nice to have. For example, a sauna in the basement (unless you need to have that 🙂 )
Our advice: Having a list, written down, is going to save you a lot of time in your home search. For our search for example, we needed a neighborhood, 4 bedrooms, 3,000 square feet, and an open floor plan. We wanted a finished basement and our deal-breaker was a floor plan that wasn’t open.
Tip 4: Get ready to see some homes
Rarely is the first home you see, the one you end up buying. On average a buyer will see 5-10 houses before they find THE ONE. Your agent should do a lot of the legwork upfront to rule out the houses that don’t meet your criteria.
In this market, you should also be prepared for multiple offers which means you might be writing a few offers before one gets accepted.
Our advice: In this market, a house that checks 80% of your boxes is the house you should buy. There is no such thing as a perfect house – even if you build it yourself.
Tip 5: Act Quickly
You saw that perfect home, it is a huge decision, this could be your home for the next 15-30 years. You decide that you want to sit and think on it overnight to make sure the decision feels right and all the stars point you right back to that beautifully painted front door. The next morning you wake up and it is all you can think of. You call your agent and tell them you’re ready to put in an offer only to find out that it is under contract. I can’t stress that this happens every. single. day. In this market, some homes are off the market the day after they’re put on the market and even homes that are lasting longer may only last on the market for 10 days, not even two full weeks.
Our Advice: If you’re working with a part-time agent, meaning an agent that doesn’t sell real estate as their full-time career – make sure they are going to be able to have the flexibility to get into the house for you and that their job isn’t going to get in the way of you buying a house.
Tip 6: Be patient
You keep signing offers, sending them over, and they get rejected. The first one stung, the third you felt your dreams slipping away, the fourth you thought about giving up. It is heartbreaking and is mentally exhausting. You put in those offers and each time you sit there and start planning what color couch you want, where you’re going to put that piece of art you bought on clearance 2 years ago that you knew would make the perfect addition to your home one day. Then the news comes and you are crushed and that is okay. Feel those feelings but remember there are more homes out there and there was probably something wrong with that house anyway! But then, you take a day and mourn the loss of what could’ve been. You’re laying on the couch and you get a call from your agent, they want you to see this home that just popped up. You go see that fifth home. You walk inside and you feel like you’re home. You try not to get too excited but you write that offer and go home expecting to get the same “we lost it” call. You’re not even halfway back to your 1 bedroom apartment, daydreaming the entire drive of that home and you get the call. They accepted your offer!
Tip 7: Don’t drag your feet
The minute your offer gets signed and you’re under contract on what will soon be your new home there will be a million and a half documents and items that will either need to be signed or sent over to either your lender or your agent. Do your absolute best to be as fast as humanly possible at getting those items taken care of. This is where the process can either be smooth sailing or an unnavigable storm. The faster you get information over, the faster the process truly begins and if additional items are needed for one reason or the next we have plenty of time to make sure that we can get everything needed with plenty of time to spare. You don’t want to get to the week before closing and get the news that you are still missing documents and closing is now going to be pushed out another two weeks. You won’t be happy, your agent won’t be happy, and the seller will not be happy. Time is of the essence!
Tip 8: Get the inspection
I don’t care if the home is brand new and you’re paying cash, get the inspection done within your inspection period. Most contracts allow for a 15-day max inspection period allowing for you to get a professional home inspection completed, give you time to review the results of that inspection, and if necessary ask for certain items to be fixed or corrected before closing. Most lenders will require an inspection to be done, and on top of that, the insurance company is going to need an inspection done to bind your insurance. You’re going to be given a list of several different inspection options when you are asked to get one. A General inspection is just that, the general condition of everything visually seen in and outside of the home. A 4 Point inspection is going to cover four main areas of the home, roofing, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. If you’re buying in Ohio you may also want to get a Radon test.
Tip 9: DON’T DO IT
Don’t quit your job.
Don’t buy a new car.
Don’t max out your credit card.
Don’t apply for a credit card.
Don’t make any big purchases.
Tip 10: What to expect on closing day
Closing day is here. You waiting 30 or more days but you received the email last night that you are now clear to close and you are going to meet your agent at the home to do one last walkthrough. You and your agent will make sure that everything on your inspection you asked to fix is fixed, and even more importantly there is nothing new wrong with the home. Make sure the hot water works, AC, and heat both seem to be working, no new leaks under the sink, and everything looks the way you remember it. After that, you’re going to head over to the title company or attorney’s office and sign our name roughly 100 times on several documents that will be tucked into a nice folder that you will probably through into a random bin and forget about until the next time you move. Then your agent is going to hand you your brand new key to your home and that is it! It is now your home and you did awesomely!
Buying a new home for the first time or the 20th time can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. It matters who you work with so mind those people that specialize in finding people their dream homes and can be your one-stop resource even after the closing is over. If you ignore almost everything above (except Tip 9!) but you have the right people standing behind you, buying a new home can be a smooth and easy process.
If you’re interested in finding your first or your next home give us a call and let us show you how calm this process can be!